Sebastian Vettel says that he is relieved to have avoided starting the race on the hyper soft tyre. He managed to get by it after setting a quick enough time in the second part of qualifying on the harder ultra soft tyre, the preferred race tyre.
The practice runs on Friday showed that the hyper soft is not good enough for a race stint, meaning those that were forced to use the pink-walled tyre could be at a disadvantage during the race. These drivers include Max Verstappen, who couldn't manage to set a time fast enough to make it through to Q3, and will have to do something different if he wants to score a podium tomorrow afternoon.
Vettel's relief comes after Pirelli's head of Motorsport Racing, Mario Isola, expressed his concern about what the difference would be between the two compounds earlier in the week.
Vettel said: “Yesterday we tried everything and obviously for us the hyper-soft didn’t last so long. So we were quite confident that it’s not the race tyre, not the tyre we want to start the race on. Other people obviously had the same opinion.
“I knew in the second run that I had some lap time to gain. I was held up a little bit in traffic on the first lap and I knew it will be tight but I really wanted to start on that tyre. That’s why I was happy to take that risk.
“The car felt a bit better today. Probably the track came towards us as well. Usually, throughout qualifying, the track improves and you start to feel happier with the car. So I think we estimated the right direction and were able to follow the trend.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing